Talking curbside yesterday with another mom, waiting for the school bell to ring we agreed that the structure of Mother’s Day was all wrong. The rules need to be re-written. This isn’t the only person I’ve shared this conversation with this week. My girlfriends are packing up and loading their kids off to visit mother-in-laws on Sunday when frankly they would rather…not. Don’t get me wrong they care for these women in their lives deeply they just don’t like the forced ritual of celebration.
As stated in a recent issue of The Network of Spiritual Progessives, written by Jonathan Klate, when Julia Ward Howe offered her Mother’s Day Proclamation to the world in 1870, her dream was far from gift baskets and long drawn out brunches of what Mother’s Day has become today. Her dream was for women to come together and dedicate themselves to the cause of nonviolent resolution of conflict and international solidarity among all women. President Woodrow Wilson put his spin on the holiday when he officially declared the day in 1914. Ms. Howe’s intention was far from “home and hearth” being the only focus. Klate explains that President Wilson ‘spurned the internationalist concern that was central to Howe’s consciousness, distorting this into American nationalism. Howe’s central concerns, the universality of motherhood and its natural expression in anti-war sentiment, was excised from the official meaning of the day.’
My focus doesn’t come close to Howe’s intended observance and awareness of the day, but there is a similar thread. If you want the mothers of this world to continue to spread non-violent ways of raising our children, if you don’t want us to get stressed out one more day, let’s honor the day by not forcing us to be somewhere or do something.….give us the frickin’ day off, I say. Save your money on the sweet smelling gifts.
I myself am packing my bags and going away for two nights with five other women. We are retreating from the real world and leaving the care of our children to our husbands. We are mothering ourselves. And when I return mid-Sunday I will welcome the small hugs of children and treasure their crayon made cards. I will have more energy to receive their love and come Monday have more energy to give all over again.